Home Budget & Tax News Meet Rachael Rollins, the Rogue Prosecutor Whose Policies Are Wreaking Havoc in...

Meet Rachael Rollins, the Rogue Prosecutor Whose Policies Are Wreaking Havoc in Boston

This commentary is part of a series on the rogue prosecutors around the country who have been backed by liberal billionaires such as George Soros and Cari Tuna, and the threat those prosecutors pose to crime victims and others alike. Previous entries in the series focused on prosecutors in BaltimorePhiladelphia, and Chicago.

The goal of prosecutors around the country is—or should be—to do justice, regardless of the race, color, or creed of anyone involved in the criminal justice process.

That seems like it should be a fairly noncontroversial statement. Those same factors have no bearing on someone’s ability to effectively enforce the laws as a district attorney.

Anytime racially charged statements are made by a prosecutor, it’s problematic and inappropriate, because they are supposed to be impartially seeking justice.

Unfortunately, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, District Attorney Rachael Rollins in Boston didn’t get the memo.

While participating on a recent panel discussion with the current U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, McGregor Scott, Rollins made (at best) inappropriate, intemperate statements and (at worst) unsubstantiated, racially charged allegations.

So, what prompted Rollins’ outburst?

It was the simple fact that Scott had the temerity to say that he considers himself to be a “progressive prosecutor” because he gets “up every day and [tries] to make the criminal justice system a better place, a more just place, a more fair place for everybody in this country … .”

On top of that, he agreed that our criminal justice system needs more mental health treatment options and more drug treatment options.

Scott confronted her and fellow panelists and rogue District Attorneys Chesa Boudin (San Francisco) and Marilyn Mosby (Baltimore), with their policy failures, including the facts that their policies aren’t really progressive at all, and instead, as we have previously written, 1) usurp the constitutional role of the legislative branch; 2) abuse and misunderstand the role of the county prosecutor; 3) lead to increases in violent crime in cities where rogue prosecutors have been elected; and 4) forget victims and cause public safety overall to suffer.

Conduct Unbecoming a District Attorney

Rather than substantively responding to Scott’s criticisms, Rollins instead launched an ad hominem attack on him saying, “I really don’t have much time for more white men telling me what communities of color need, because they don’t know.”

She went on to say:

“As a person who was actually elected to my job, rather than appointed to do my job, due respect, sir [nodding at Scott], and I will say as a person of less than 1% of people with actual melanin that are actually in this role, I’m really tired, and as a person who has been at the U.S. attorney’s office as well, when U.S. attorneys who hover up here in the good air, talking about the communities that they only touch with Project Safe Neighborhoods [a community outreach program] or other things. There is no diversity in those offices, No. 1, certainly in Massachusetts, where I served.”

Never mind the fact that Scott spent about 14 years in local California district attorney’s offices both as a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County and as the elected district attorney in Shasta County.

But why let facts get in the way of a personal attack unrelated to the impersonal, yet substantive, criticisms levied against her?

Rollins’ comments are, unfortunately, typical of rogue prosecutors, who refuse to debate the consequences of their dangerous and reckless policies, and instead attack anyone who dares to question their abuse of office—even, and perhaps especially, if that someone is a fellow prosecutor.

Instead of engaging in a meaningful discussion with Scott, Rollins instantly dismissed Scott’s views because of his race and gender—something she herself has complained about in the past.

Can we expect an apology from Rollins, or a denunciation of her by her fellow “progressives” for her marginalizing and dismissing someone based solely on his race and gender?

We didn’t think so.

Another Soros Puppet

But, unfortunately, this is far from Rollins’ most serious transgression, because her goals are part of a larger radical movement.

Liberal billionaire George Soros, and other wealthy individuals, realized early on that prosecutors are the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system, so they decided to hand select attorneys who would do their bidding by refusing to prosecute entire categories of crimes, fundamentally “reimagining prosecution” and reverse engineering the criminal justice system into something unrecognizable in the process.

Replacing independent, progressive traditional prosecutors with rogue district attorneys became the game plan with Boston functioning as a petri dish for this radical experiment.

15 Crimes You Can Commit in Boston

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to commit a crime, or maybe even multiple crimes, with no consequences?  Wonder no more.

Even though Rollins wasn’t the first rogue district attorney backed by Soros (that dubious distinction goes to Kim Foxx of Chicago), she is still the grand dame of the rogue prosecutor movement when it comes to her nonprosecution practices.

As we wrote in the first major research paper on rogue prosecutors, when Rollins ran for district attorney in Boston, she hinted that she would refuse to prosecute entire categories of crimes. Once elected, Rollins published “The Rachael Rollins Policy Memo,” which lists 15 crimes “for which the default is to decline prosecuting.”

Despite the fact that those 15 crimes were passed by the state Legislature and signed into law by the governor, Rollins has unilaterally decreed that those 15 categories of crimes should either be “outright dismissed prior to arraignment” or, “where appropriate,” “diverted and treated as a civil infraction.”

A decision to prosecute someone for committing any of these crimes must be approved by a supervisor.

The “Rollins 15” are:

1) Trespassing

2) Shoplifting, including offenses that are essentially shoplifting, but charged as larceny

3) Larceny under $250.

4) Disorderly conduct.

5) Disturbing the peace.

6) Receiving stolen property.

7) Minor driving offenses, including operating with a suspended or revoked license.

8) Breaking and entering, where it is into a vacant property or is for the purpose of sleeping or seeking refuge from the cold and there is no actual damage to property.

9) Wanton or malicious destruction of property.

10) Threats (excluding domestic violence).

11) Minors in possession of alcohol.

12) Drug possession.

13) Drug possession with intent to distribute.

14) Resisting arrest where the only charge is resisting arrest.

15) Resisting arrest if the other charges include only charges that fall under the list of charges for which prosecution is declined.

In other words, in Boston, a violent career felon can break into your home, be in possession of cocaine, plan to distribute that cocaine to others, and resist arrest after you call the police, and all the charges will be “outright dismissed,” so long as the reason he broke into your house—and terrified your family—was because he wanted “to sleep” or was “seeking refuge” from the cold.

Her nonprosecution policies also contribute to undermining public safety in more subtle, but more pernicious ways. By not prosecuting individuals for crimes that they actually commit, countless individuals end up not having criminal records, even though they have, in fact, committed criminal acts.

When these same individuals commit future crimes, and a prosecutor decides to file charges against that person, that prosecutor will not be able to use the prior conviction(s), or underlying conduct from previous cases, to help convict the person and/or seek a sentence enhancement because, simply put, thanks to Rollins’ policies, those prior cases won’t exist.

Rollins, and other rogue prosecutors, know this, and do so deliberately as part of their common plan and scheme to “reverse engineer” the criminal justice system, placing excessive emphasis on sympathy toward defendants, rather than on sympathy toward victims and the safety of their communities.

In the introduction to her policy memo, Rollins vowed to craft “new policies that would dramatically change the way we approach criminal prosecution” and pledged that this new approach would be “data-driven” and “grounded in science.”

Refusing to follow the law and faithfully execute the law as passed by a state legislature is legislative usurpation, not a “data-driven” approach to fighting crime. And, as we will discuss, her “data-driven” approach should show that the crime data is going in the wrong direction; namely, up.

Rollins’ Bad Relationship With Police

One of the trademarks of rogue prosecutors, including Rollins, is their belief that the police are the problem, not criminals, even going so far as to say that the entire criminal justice system is systemically racist, is a racial “caste system,” and that police are killing innocent black men in the streets across America with impunity.

Don’t believe us? Read their own words here, in the section titled “Radical Goals and Tactics of the Rogue Prosecutor Movement.”

Rollins feeds into that narrative, as you can see from her comments above to Scott.

If you need more proof, consider that after the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis, she appeared at a public event on June 1 with Boston’s mayor and police commissioner, and said that she was “exhausted” because police officers “shoot us in the street as if we were animals.”

It’s clear that the Boston police dislike Rollins, and who can blame them for being frustrated? In addition to her demonization of them, Rollins and her acolytes refuse to prosecute the cases, day after day, brought to them by the Boston police—in large part for no other reason than that they fall within the “Rollins 15.”

But Rollins isn’t ashamed of this (though she should be). She’s proud of it. During a public event this summer with the Suffolk County sheriff, a congresswoman, and other local leaders, Rollins bragged about her list of 15 crimes that can be committed with impunity, and told a whopper of a tale; namely, that after COVID-19 hit, “every police department in the nation used my list of 15.” There are more than 18,000 police departments across the United States.

Most police departments have never heard of Rollins, and virtually no district attorney’s offices subscribe to her lawless approach.

During that same public event this summer, Rollins claimed that even though police carry guns, and those guns can “harm us in the name of their job,” there’s “no oversight with respect to whether they have complaints against them, whether they have lawsuits filed.”

That’s not true in Boston, nor is that true anywhere in the country.  Complaints are filed against police officers every day, in every jurisdiction across the country. Police departments have internal procedures they must follow when an officer fires his or her weapon in the line of duty.  Furthermore, lawsuits are filed against police officers and police departments across the country.

Traditional independent prosecutors don’t usurp the legislative power by refusing to prosecute entire classes of crimes, but rather, faithfully execute the laws on the books. And police departments, from Portland, Oregon, to Chicago to Philadelphia to Baltimore to Boston, enforce the law as written, with the hope that the district attorney’s office will prosecute the offenders.

Not prosecuting known criminals and letting them back out on the streets only increases the tension between police departments and the district attorney’s office, which should be working together, not at odds with each other.

As one might expect, Rollins’ usurpation of the legislative function has caused a massive rift between the district attorney’s office, the Boston Police Department, and law enforcement officials in general.

A month after Rollins was elected in 2018, the National Police Association filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Bar Counsel in Massachusetts against Rollins, claiming that her “reckless disregard for the laws enacted by the Massachusetts General Assembly mandate[d]” its decision to file such a claim.

The police association asserted that her campaign promises not to prosecute entire classes of crimes, if implemented, would “adversely and will foreseeably impact the safety and well-being of those that she is soon charged to represent.”

Rollins thumbed her nose at the bar complaint and published her “policy memo” on March 25, 2019.

Nothing ‘Data-Driven’ About Rollins’ Approach

In the introduction to her policy memo, Rollins vowed to craft “new policies that would dramatically change the way we approach criminal prosecution” and pledged that this new approach would be “data-driven” and “grounded in science.”

It’s worth reiterating what we said above, that refusing to follow the law and faithfully execute the law as passed by a state legislature is legislative usurpation, not a “data-driven” approach to fighting crime.

Rollins’ blatant disregard for her duties as a member of the executive branch of government resulted in a rebuke by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the refusal of at least one frustrated Boston municipal judge to grant an assistant district attorney’s recommendation for nonprosecution in a disorderly conduct case—which in turn can cause its own separation-of-powers problems.

Rollins is quite proud of her “15 crimes list.” She wants you to believe that her list is one being copied by prosecutors all over the country, and that police departments are supportive of her nonprosecution list. Neither is true.

Even other rogue prosecutors, including Larry Krasner (Philadelphia), Marilyn Mosby (Baltimore), Kim Foxx (Chicago), don’t have 15 “freebee” crimes in their cities. And that’s saying something when you’re too extreme even for other extremists.

 

Originally published by The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.

Cully Stimson & Zack Smith
Charles “Cully” Stimson is a leading expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, immigration, and drug policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. || Zack Smith is a legal fellow in the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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